I went to a community meeting on Tuesday night. In John McMillan Park.
Under the flat white glare of the portable floodlights with 300 other pitchfork wielding villagers.
The baying for bureaucrats blood was loud and carried clear in the warm summer night air.
A minority were frenzied, frothing uncontrollably at the mouth. Goading the mob on.
The smoother than smooth radio voice of Mr Consultant slipped across the crowd. Hypnotic. “We understand how you feel…” Somnambulistic tones usually reserved for horse whispering.
Officers of the Town attempted to explain, “the plan is dead”, “on ice”, “we could have consulted better”.
Drowned by bronx cheers and cat calls. There hadn’t been a public stoning in Vic Park for some time. A ripple of expectation ran through the crowd.
And now public questions… the soap box orators, the public nuisances burying the legitimate community concern in a wall of nasal invective and chest beating.
Fear and distrust permeate the air. Remember Lathlain Oval? Remember the Paid Parking Fiasco? The brave Officers of the Town flank the Mayor and Acting CEO, in their own private OK Corral moment.
And the Park. Vested in the people. Caveat protected. The howls of anguish “how can you sell our children’s future” (and they paved paradise and put up a parking lot – thank you Joni Mitchell).
So this is to be a night of pillory and humiliation. The Officers of the Town, bent double in submission before the crowd.
Just a few lone voices of reason cut through. Voices for Billabong Childcare, the Arts Centre and other equally unsexy and overlooked community services. Necessary and vital, and yet almost voiceless.
The mellifluous snake oil smooth tones “..you have been extremely polite…” as the crowd turns on its heel and drifts away, spent. The Mayor pumps hands and bequeaths bonhomie on those that will partake.
Until all that is left is an empty park, the throb of the generator and the flat white light of the portable lighting.